Those who know me know that I have a mortal fear of starting scenery on a layout. Benchwork, trackwork, and electrical don’t bother me at all – in fact, I’m quite fond of all three. But at some point, those three have to be called “finished” and I have to step off into that great bold beyond known as scenery. I’ll be honest, the last time I got this far was 25 years ago on the layout I had in high school. No layout in the middle has lasted long enough to sprout even the tiniest speck of ground foam, or a tree, or even hardshell.
The CR&NW has finally hit that point. There’s simply no more putting off my greatest fear. So, about a month ago, I started gluing cardboard strips into landforms.
I started on the section between Strelna and Chitina – including the third Copper River bridge – simply because it was one of the most accident-prone (narrow trackwork with a long plunge to the floor) and because it offers some significant hills and cliffs to start with. It’s also one of those spots that bends the prototype a bit more than others, since I had to compress a long, largely linear grade down Kotsina Hill into a short wrap around the end of a peninsula.
I also did a bit of work on the lower deck between Round Island and Katalla Junction, since I was already cutting hardboard for river bottoms and it was nearly below my work area on Kotsina Hill.
Here’s where we are so far with a test train for scale.